How compatible are the world's major religions?

There are a tonne of resources around that compare the world's major religions, highlighting the differences between each. There are some good comparisons of Eastern vs Western religions, and also numerous comparisons of Christianity vs non-Christianity.

However, I wasn't able to find any articles that specifically investigate the compatibility between the world's major religions. The areas where different religions are "on the same page", and are able to understand each other and (in the better cases) to respect each other; vs the areas where they're on a different wavelength, and where a poor capacity for dialogue is a potential cause for conflict.

I have, therefore, taken the liberty of penning such an analysis myself. What follows is a very humble list of aspects in which the world's major religions are compatible, vs aspects in which they are incompatible.



Why can't we be friends?

This quick article is my take on the age-old question: if all religions are supposedly based on universal peace and love, then why have they caused more war and bloodshed than any other force in history?

My logic behind comparing religions specifically in terms of "compatibility", rather than simply in terms of "similarities and differences", is that a compatibility analysis should yield conclusions that are directly relevant to the question that we're all asking (i.e. Why can't we be friends?). Logically, if religions were all 100% compatible with each other, then they'd never have caused any conflict in all of human history. So where, then, are all those pesky incompatibilities, that have caused peace-avowing religions to time and again be at each others' throats?

The answer, I believe, is the same one that explains why Java and FORTRAN don't get along well (excuse the geek reference). They both let you write computer programs – but on very different hardware, and in very different coding styles. Or why Chopin fans and Rage Against the Machine fans aren't best friends. They both like to listen to music, but at very different decibels, and with very different amounts of tattoos and piercings applied. Or why a Gemini and a Cancer weren't meant for each other (if you happen to believe in astrology, which I don't). They're both looking for companionship in this big and lonely world, but they laugh and cry in different ways, and the fact is they'll just never agree on whether sushi should be eaten with a fork or with chopsticks.

Religions are just one more parallel. They all aim to bring purpose and hope to one's life; but they don't always quite get there, because along the way they somehow manage to get bogged down discussing on which day of the week only raspberry yoghurt should be eaten, or whether the gates of heaven are opened by a lifetime of charitable deeds or by just ringing the buzzer.

Religion is just one more example of a field where the various competing groups all essentially agree on, and work towards, the same basic purpose; but where numerous incompatibilities arise due to differences in their implementation details.

Perhaps religions could do with a few IEEE standards? Although, then again, perhaps if the world can't even agree on a globally compatible standard for something as simple as what type of electrical plug to use, I doubt there's any hope for religion.

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